Officials and Mission Director discuss possibility of moving Clarksburg Mission

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - The Clarksburg Mission has been offering help to those in need since opening in 1969. However, over the years residents and city officials have suggested the mission move out of its location in Glen Elk and offer help somewhere else.

Mission Executive Director Lou Ortenzio says this is because people associate a stigma with the Mission.

"The thought is that maybe we wouldn't have the problems downtown if we weren't there, and I don't think that's correct," said Ortenzio. "I'm certainly encouraged that the city wants to help us solve the problem because we are often at capacity."

Ortenzio has been with the Mission for 10 years, and in that time has seen the city try to declare them a nuisance and offer to help relocate.

Over the years a lot of new location options have been talked about.

"Last year they suggested we go to Salem in an old National Guard armory. They suggested a middle school no longer in operation."

However, none of those options would work for the Mission. Besides money to move being an issue, their location suggestions were too far from needed services.

"Vital services are downtown," said Ortenzio. "The courthouse is downtown. The DHHR, the workforce, and the DMV, all of that is downtown and folks need to be downtown."

Businesses nearby, like the Marino Brothers restaurant, say they understand the need for the Mission, and support their decision to either stay or move.

"The Mission doesn't bother me here," said restaurant co-owner Jimmy Marino. "I'm supportive and I feel for the people who are utilizing that, and I'm supportive of it. But I would think there is a better location, and I would be very supportive of a better location."